Luol Deng isn’t going anywhere fast — and we don’t just mean because he’s in a walking boot right now trying to rest his Achilles (he hopes to be back Christmas Day).
We mean on the trade market.
Ever since Derrick Rose went down injured it has been the conventional wisdom that the Bulls would use now to retool the roster — not rebuild from scratch Derrick, relax, just retool — and that meant seeing what they could get for Luol Deng on the trade market.
But that is not the case; Deng is not on the market reports Brian Windhorst of ESPN.
Despite being mired in a season that has been derailed by injuries, the Chicago Bulls are determined not to trade impending free-agent forward Luol Deng, sources told ESPN.com…
Despite failing to come to terms on a contract extension before the season, the Bulls remain optimistic they will re-sign Deng next summer.
Deng is in the final year of a contract paying him $14.3 million. The two-time All-Star has averaged a career high 19.6 points per game with a good True Shooting Percentage 54.2 percent. This has been the best season of his career. Plus coach Tom Thibodeau really loves him on the defensive ends.
Still, is it really the Bulls plan to bring him back at more than $10 million a season and keep playing him in front of Taj Gibson? Would the Bulls really be willing to match what some other teams will be willing to pay Deng this summer?
More likely, the Bulls don’t want to take back long-term salary in a deal and would be more willing to play out the season with Deng and let him go rather than eat up future cap space.
Because of the salary demands and the fact that expiring deals are not the great trade chip they once were, the Bulls may not be getting offers they find attractive in the wake of the Rose injury — I’m sure teams came in hoping for a fire sale and making lowball offers. Still, you have to think they will consider this more seriously close to the deadline. This is an All-Star player and the Bulls will expect compensation commiserate with that, but you have to think they will listen.
Unless the new plan is to really bring back Deng, keep Carlos Boozer another year and try again to make a run with this core group. Not sure that’s the wise play in Chicago, but it is an option.